Before 9/11, I was white—meaning, among other things, that I had the privilege of sitting out a presidential election to wait for the “perfect” candidate who fulfilled my demands for progressive purity.
But being Muslim and of Arab heritage, my world changed in the years after 9/11 as I was transformed by society from white to a minority. Consequently, I learned firsthand the pain of being defined by the worst in my community and having politicians then openly use that grotesque caricature to demonize us. And no one has been more vile on this front than Donald Trump, who made ginning up hatred of Muslims one of the centerpieces of his 2016 campaign, which resulted in more hate crimes in 2017 against my community than even in the year after 9/11.
In normal times, perhaps I’d be yelling about the fact that of nearly 40 speakers the DNC has chosen so far for next week’s convention, that besides Bernie Sanders, Liz Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the rest are for the most part moderate/establishment Democrats (except for the two who aren’t even Democrats). The DNC could have done far better on this front and included more progressive voices and at least one Muslim American progressive such as Rep. Ilhan Omar.